- Wendy Pasiah, Open Dreams Scholar
MY ADVICE TO YOUTHS
Ignorance they say kills the soul. I think young girls of this century are suffering from ignorance and need to be educated on the disadvantages of teenage pregnancy, HIV and AIDS. I am glad about the work some organizations are doing to address these problems. However, it is clear that they can't do it all alone. We all need to educate our friends, daughters, and children on Teenage pregnancy and do same for HIV and AIDS. I visited my village two months ago and just in my neighborhood, I could identify 10 to 12 teenage girls that were pregnant – very unusual. I could not ignore this situation and let these children suffer from the ignorance disease. I call it ignorance because I think these children were not advised at home or at school about the consequences of unprotected sex, and they have no knowledge of what they were doing.
I had to do something. So, I organized an educative meeting to bring together young girls from around my village to talk about these things that call for our concerns – sex, pregnancies, HIV, AIDS etc. I walked from house to house to inform youths about the meeting which will take place in my grandmother's house. Also, I had to convince even children to come because I figured out that if I could give them the right mindset about these issues, they’ll grow up thinking differently and in the right direction. They wouldn’t grow up seeing teenage pregnancy as a “cool” thing.
The day finally came – I had a tough time convincing the pregnant and the shy ones to come, so only a very few people showed up. We had a very fruitful meeting. We talked about their motivation to having sex when they’re below 18 and the reasons why some of them feel okay with getting pregnant at a young age even when unmarried. I also emphasized on the risk of young people contracting HIV. They were moved by what I said and some promised they will not find themselves in this situation. Others felt excited and promised to spread the word to other friends. They saw my attitude and reasoning inspiring and looked up to me as a role model although I faced a lot of challenges speaking in my dialect after spending a lot of time without speaking it.
I think parents are also a cause of these problems – and this also came up a lot in our discussion. Some Parents make themselves look like wild animals to their children when it comes to discussing certain issues. So, their kids turn to be afraid of even talking to their parents since they are that afraid that Parents will “bark” at them when they speak. Most parents aren’t aware of the fact they could even lose their children if they got pregnant since most of them could suffer from complicated pregnancies as young as they are. Parents are supposed to be the best friends of their children. They should make the relationships with their children stronger such children feel safe and free to tell parents anything on their mind. I know some parents will be like “I do not have time, I am busy with work.” But why bring a child to this world when you don’t have time for him or her? Parents need to create time for their children to educate them about life and the decisions that they must make in order to live healthy lives. Parents have to embrace talking to their children about “hard things” like sex, pregnancy, and diseases.
Am I pointing all fingers at parents? Definitely not – children or the youth are also to blame. Here is my message to them. My dear teenagers, there is time for everything. The cycle of life is; Education, Career then comes love. Let me tell you, teen love relationship will not produce a good outcome. Instead, it will lead to academic failure, stress. I want you to ask yourself these questions. Am I ready to nurture a child? Am I ready to drop out of school? Am I ready to disgrace myself publicly? If yes, then be ready to welcome poverty, hardship, and disgrace. If no, then Focus on your studies solely and I promise you that you will put on a smiling face at the end when you get the things you love at the right time. Don't you want to be called a doctor, lawyer, professor etc? Life is short so take this short period of your life to focus on your studies then live the rest of your life to enjoy. I hope this message has been helpful to you so I plead with you to talk to your child or that neighbour's child who has lost concentration and even to their parents.